January is here, which means the time has come to issue giving statements. Through serving thousands of churches, SecureGive has seen it all. Some of you produce giving statements annually, while others send them biannually or quarterly. Some of you email a digital copy, while others opt for a traditional letter in the mail, or even a combination of both. Regardless of the distribution method you chose, the content of the giving statement remains the same.
A basic giving statement looks something like this: church logo appears in the top right corner, next comes a thank you sentence, followed by the individual’s previous giving transactions by date and amount. Included at the bottom is a notice acknowledging your church’s registered 501(c)(3) status, which claims no goods or services were provided by your church in return for the contribution. Sound familiar?
All of these elements are important. But what if I told you that your church’s giving statements can be so much more than a donor’s financial record for tax purposes?
They can be. And it doesn’t have to be difficult or very time consuming for you or your team. Here are 3 ways to enhance your giving statement to further disciple your givers.
1- As you thank givers, include a bible verse.
Most likely the first sentence of your giving statement says “thank you.” And, that’s okay. However, your opening lines have the potential for a much greater impact.
Instead of a simple, “thank you for giving to our church,” tell your givers exactly what the Bible says about stewardship and generosity. For example:
In Matthew 6:21 Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” What a powerful reminder to us all. Our spending and giving is a reflection of what we value most. As followers of Jesus, we are called to cherish, love, and value His bride, the Church. Thank you for faithfully giving to _______ (church name). Your giving reflects your devotion to Jesus and the value you place on the local church. As we enter a new year, know that your faithful giving helps us continue to spread the Gospel, provide hope, and meet needs in our local city and beyond. Thank you!
Your giving statement can and should be a teaching moment. Reinforce what your church believes on the topic of money through God’s word.
2- Add an insert with visuals and opportunities.
Adding an insert to your giving statement is a fantastic way to catch the eyes of donors and get them more involved in ministry opportunities at your church.
How you send your giving statements (digital or a physical copy in the mail) will affect the way you design your insert.
If you send a statement via mail, the insert can be a small thin piece of paper (something that won’t increase the cost of your postage). I recommend designing the visuals horizontally. When you go to tri-fold the giving statement, include the insert inside. That way when the donor takes the letter out of the envelope and they unfold their giving statement, the insert placed inside is the first thing they see!
If you send a statement via email, the insert will be the email text body itself. Most giving statements sent digitally are included as an attached PDF for the donor, so take the opportunity to make the email aesthetically pleasing.
Take your insert to the next level by incorporating creative visuals and church opportunities. For example:
Visuals: Pictures of corporate worship setting, baptisms, weekend service moments, the building, ministry activities highlighting different age demographics (ie children’s, students, young adults, etc.). Visuals can also focus on one particular ministry or highlight a particular large church event (ie Easter, Christmas, a conference, etc.).
Opportunities: Share an upcoming ministry offering you want to see people attend. Things like a zoom Bible study, a finance class like Financial Peace University, or a new webinar highlighting an area of discipleship your church is focusing on.
Click HERE to see an example of an insert for the mail.
3- Highlight recurring giving.
Online giving is a powerful tool that makes giving secure, easy, fast, and automatic. But time and time again, I see a common problem happening with online giving in local churches.
There is a much higher percentage of one-time gifts coming in vs. recurring gifts through a giving account. Promoting SecureGive’s online giving software yields an increase in overall digital giving. We know this and it is proven. But local churches without a plan to increase recurring gifts are missing out on a massive opportunity to get the most out of digital giving.
Automatic giving on a monthly basis teaches churchgoers to be faithful and disciplined givers, producing obedient disciples of Jesus.
In your giving statement, take a few sentences to highlight recurring giving. Here’s an example:
As a church, we want to help you be faithful with what God’s entrusted to you. Did you know that you can set up automatic giving in frequent, smaller amounts through an account? This is a simple, easy way for you to give your first fruits and be faithful to the Lord every month! In just 60 seconds you can set up your giving account. Visit ______ (insert website) or email _________ (add a contact’s email address) to get started.
*If the statement goes out as an email, share links to your church’s SecureGive page directly.
Repeat the importance of faithful, frequent giving by guiding your donors to set up their online giving account in SecureGive.
As you think about ways to communicate with givers in 2021, be intentional and make your giving statement a key piece. Here’s the thing. Everyone needs a giving statement for charitable tax purposes. Whether they glance at it or read it line by line, this is one of the few, rare moments when you have the eyes of ALL your church’s givers at the same time. Leverage this opportunity and make this donor communications piece meaningful. Small, subtle enhancements will go a long way.